In the consciousness of Irish Jesuits, the dominant mood this Epiphany is of loss. It is just a week since we buried John Dunne, who had been Socius (companion, secretary, counsellor, support) to the last two Provincials, a cheerful, competent, selfless presence at the heart of the administration. Conscious of his terminal state with galloping cancer, he worked until he dropped, a good model of Winnicott’s prayer: ‘May I be alive when I die’. He had served Galway, Gonzaga, Eglinton Road and Sandford Road as superior; and the Institute of Guidance Counsellors as their president for many years. A crowd of friends, from all the chapters of his life, packed Gonzaga chapel to overflowing in a memorable funeral Mass, and responded warmly to Brian Grogan’s affectionate homily. It was a good send-off, one which John would relish. But the loss is heavy, most of all for his sister Anne.
JOHN DUNNE SJ
15 May 1944 – 27 December 2008
Requiescat in Pace
John’s early education was in Trim and Coláiste na Rinne, Dungarvan. After secondary school in Clongowes Wood College he entered the Society of Jesus on 7 September 1962 at Emo. After First Vows, John went to Rathfarnham and studied Arts at ucd and later Philosophy at Milltown Park. He taught at the Sacred Heart College in Limerick before returning to Milltown in 1971 to study theology.
After ordination on 21 June 1974, he studied guidance counselling at Mater Dei and went as teacher and guidance counsellor to Crescent College Comprehensive where he remained until 1981. During this time he made Tertianship in Tullabeg and took his Final Vows on 31 May 1979. While in Limerick he studied computing and continued this interest, later beginning LayJay bulletin, forerunner to today’s AMDG.ie. He served in Galway from 1981 to 1987 as Rector, teacher, guidance counsellor and chair of the board of management. In 1987 John was appointed to Gonzaga where he was to spend the next fourteen years in roles as various as pastoral co-ordinator, guidance counsellor, teacher, librarian and Rector.
Following a year’s sabbatical, during which John spent some time at the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, California, and travelling in Asia and Africa, he moved to Loyola House in 2002 where he became Superior and Socius (Assistant Provincial).
John was admitted to Cherryfield Lodge on 19 December following a short illness which was diagnosed at the beginning of October. He died peacefully on the morning of Saturday 27 December, feast of Saint John the Evangelist.
May he rest in the peace of Christ.